Into the Hedges of Oregon
In our planning for the extension of the work, far more than the cities alone must be comprehended. In out of the way places are many, many families that need to be looked after in order to learn whether they understand the work that Jesus is doing for His people.
“Those in the highways are not to be neglected; neither are those in the hedges; and as we journey about from place to place and pass by house after house, we should often inquire, ‘Have the people who are living in these places heard the message? Has the truth of God’s Word been brought to their ears? Do they understand that the end of all things is at hand, and that the judgments of God are impending? Do they realize that every soul has been bought with an infinite price?’ As I meditate upon these things, my heart goes out in deep longing to see the truth carried in its simplicity to the homes of these people along the highways and places far removed from the crowded centers of population…. It is our privilege to visit them and acquaint them with God’s love for them and with His wonderful provision for the salvation of their souls. “In this work in the highways and the hedges, there are serious difficulties to be met and overcome. The worker, as he searches for souls, is not to fear nor be discouraged, for God is his helper, and will continue to be his helper; and He will open up ways before His servants.” Evangelism, 45, 46.
In the John Day River valley of east-central Oregon, a small church is trying to reach out to the rural farm-based community in which they live. They have done cooking schools and mass mailing of literature, and they mingle as salt in the community, seeking to be witnesses through their social interactions.
But they desired to do more; therefore, they started investigating the possibility of having a public evangelistic series. The decision was made to move forward, and plans were laid to have Cody Francis come for a four weekend Bible prophecy seminar.
As groundwork to the seminar, a postcard that advertised a series of Bible prophecy booklets was mailed. Those who responded will receive a new booklet each week for a few months. We were thankful for the few responses that were received, and we prayed for the Lord to prepare us in order that He might further bless the seminar and outreach in the area.
We had some extra cause for prayer as an unexpected situation arose with the mailing of the brochures. Because of a new postal regulation regarding the layout of the brochures, which were already printed, the brochures had to be mailed in envelopes. We usually design the brochure with the thought that the colorful graphics will attract the people to look further. Of course, the envelope covered the graphics, but God is not limited by such things. Unexpected circumstances are God’s opportunity to manifest His overriding goodness and power.
In addition to the brochures, advertising also took place via newspaper advertisements, radio advertisements, posters and a radio interview with my husband and speaker for the evangelistic series, Cody Francis.
Interestingly, a few days before the seminar started, members of the Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group, arrived in the area, announcing that they were looking for property for a compound. The public mind was deeply agitated and focused on the related issues, but we praise the Lord that even this did not hinder the success of the work.
The opening meeting began at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday night. We eagerly waited to see what the Lord would do. We were very pleased when seven guests arrived. Considering the number of brochures sent and the typically expected response, this was a very good percentage for a sparsely populated area. We gave thanks to the Lord for the people He brought.
Although a couple of gentlemen that attended the first night never returned, these were replaced by another couple, leaving five to seven people most nights throughout the remainder of the four-weekend, sixteen-night seminar.
On the second night, one couple invited another couple who were their neighbors and friends. After that, neither man missed a night. They generally sat near the front and were very attentive. They see much of the truth, but are still struggling with some issues and with accepting some of the truths, including the full importance of the Sabbath. We pray that the Lord will work on their hearts to make a full surrender. One couple especially now seems to be feeling comfortable and is incorporating into the church family.
Another couple, who are involved in several businesses in town, attended quite a number of nights. The husband usually seemed to be struggling with or perplexed with the presentations, but calls from a church member who knew them still seemed to leave an opening, and Cody went to visit them after the seminar. When he spoke with them about the Sabbath, the wife realized that it would be a major challenge for her with her work but was not in opposition to it. They seem open to further contact and have received all of the CD’s and materials from the meetings so they can catch up on what they missed and review the rest.
The day before the seminar started, Loren Birmingham and Cody, went to the little town of Mt. Vernon to go door to door to invite people to the seminar. While there, they met an older gentleman that said he might come. He came the first night and then missed several nights because of illness. After that he was a faithful attendee. He is a lonely man and enjoys the fellowship, and he plans to continue attending each Sabbath. When Cody visited him, he made a commitment to pray and study his Bible every day.
This man and the two couples mentioned first have now attended church a few times. We pray that they will all continue to attend and will grow into a fully surrendered walk with Jesus, in obedience to all of His commandments and belief in all of His Word.
We want to see the little beacon of light in this rural valley become brighter and brighter as a city set on a hill as it grows spiritually and numerically. Please keep God’s work in your prayers and put forth your efforts—not alone for the large metropolitan areas, but also for these out-of-the-way places that need the light of Jesus’ love and truth.
“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23.
If you would like to reach your community, however large or small, through public evangelism, please contact us. We will be happy to work with you to plan and present a prophecy seminar specially tailored, with the help of God, to the needs of your area.
By Mandy Francis.
Mission Projects International, P.O. Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058. Telephone: 800-467-4174.